This new film is designed to act as the starting gun on a new campaign for better roads sponsored by the Ford Motor Company.
As introduced in the film by Henry Ford II, the campaign intends to show that, although full credit can be given to governmental traffic experts for their efforts and skill in planning and engineering new improved highways, a most important role in getting better roads is being played by private citizens getting together to demand road improvement.
For example, the film visits the former site of "Bloody Bayshore," south of San Francisco, one of the most dangerous roads in the country until private citizens, spurred on by the Palo Alto Times and other local papers, set a campaign in motion that reached top governmental levels and resulted in a new freeway that now provides good, efficient and safe access to the city.
Pittsburgh, hemmed in by the converging Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers, was stifling in road congestion that cost the city millions of dollars annually. Ten years ago, it was a nightmare; today, the "Golden Triangle" of Pittsburgh, with adequate and scientifically designed roads and parking facilities, is one of the nation's best examples of the civic advantage of good roads. In Pittsburgh's instance, private citizens, local business and such industrial firms as Gulf Oil and H.J. Heinz took the lead in public demand for improvement.
Another example cited is Boston's new "Golden Semi-Circle" -- Route 128 -- which not only provides good access to downtown Boston for the sprawling 2-1/2 million population in the metropolitan area, but has attracted dozens of new industries along the route.
The film shows North Carolina's excellent new county roads that have revolutionized the life of rural people with good new central schools, shopping centers and cultural centers.
Besides taking a big part in improving good roads, private citizens can be vastly important in campaigns to achieve safe driving habits in the community. St. Joseph, Missouri, for instance, where "they never let you forget safety," and where accident statistics are as low as anywhere in the country. [Business Screen 17:2, 1956]
In this grand expose of why the roadways of America are in need of repair, RIGHT NOW! Henry Ford II sweatily introduces us to the film, Ford, who BADLY reads from cue cards, introduces us to the real star of the show, "the traffic safety and highway improvement reporter" Wesbrook Van Vorheen (????), a man who's face and body clearly doesnt match the voice. In his deep basso nova voice. 4 "actual" scenarios are reported on, each seemingly more duller then the first. The first report, about the mayhem and carnage on the Palo Alto Bayshore highway, is clearly the most interesting. Shots of plenty' o banged up cars are shown, a letter from the governor is written, and soon, the community springs into action, with petitions being signed, speed limits being brought down (from 45 to 35!) and even, in a CLASSIC moment, a declaration of a "Bloody Bayshore Day: (The mind reels..) Soon after, the road gets so safe, as the newspaper editor says in classic double-speak the death and injury rate in sixty days "dropped from 67 to 38". What this means is anybody's guess. The rest of the scenarios, about various other safety measures in cities and towns, aren't as interesting as the first segment, which clearly is demented. Check it out.
October 1, 2013 Subject:
There are a few clues to the date of this film:
14:20 - A 1956 Ford Customline (produced Sep 1955 to Sep 1956) is prominently shown.
16:32 - We see a calendar on the wall that shows January starting on a Sunday. Can't read the year but only 1950, 1956, & 1961 match that calendar for this era.
17:20 - A 1956 Ford Fairlane (produced Sep 1955 to Sep 1956) is prominently shown.
Quick research reveals the book promoted in the film has a publishing copyright date of 1956.
As stated in the notes, Business Screen magazine Vol17#2 (March 1956) references this as a new film.
It is possible that next year's calendar was placed on the wall and also possible the actual publishing date was post-dated, but I believe very early 1956 is the most likely time this film was produced and released.
Earlier MPEG2 posts of this film in two parts are found here with some additional comments: